Bitcoin could heat homes in North Vancouver next year – .

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Bitcoin could heat homes in North Vancouver next year – .


Each MintGreen bitcoin server can generate enough heat for 350,000 square feet of space per day.

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In a recent announcement, a conditions agreement to this effect was reached between MintGreen, a Canadian technology company, and Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC).

The city-owned company is currently heating 100 buildings, containing 7,000 apartments, in the central and lower Lonsdale areas using a mix of clean energy alternatives, including natural gas boilers and solar panels. Next year, computers working around the clock to create cryptocurrency could be added to this list.

Each of MintGreen’s servers can produce 0.47 megawatt per hour, enough to heat 350,000 square feet of space for a day, said Colin Sullivan, CEO of MintGreen.

“Our Bitcoin mining servers are located in a container filled with a non-conductive coolant. A pump moves the coolant over the servers which in turn connect to a mechanical device called a heat exchanger that delivers heat directly to LEC’s district energy system.

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The process, led by MintGreen digital boilers, would prevent 20,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere over the predicted 12-year period “compared to natural gas boilers,” which, according to Sullivan, emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases.

Each digital boiler would recover more than 96% of the electricity used to mine Bitcoin as thermal energy, Sullivan added.

If contracted, North Vancouver will provide city-owned space for hundreds of MintGreen Bitcoin servers during the company’s first large-scale deployment of technology, said Karsten Veng, CEO of Lonsdale Energy.

“We don’t invest in Bitcoin. We’re just buying the heat, ”Veng said, unwilling to disclose the costs associated with the deal.

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Colin Sullivan, CEO of MintGreen, a Burnaby-based cryptocurrency mining company, holds a hash board as he stands in front of his company’s Bitcoin mine on October 18, 2021. Photo de Mike Bell /PNG

Similar initiatives have been undertaken in Europe. If a contract is signed in North Vancouver, the city will be the first on the continent to use cryptocurrency operations for heating.

“Bitcoin mining is generally an extremely harmful environmental activity, as the electricity needed to run servers comes from fossil fuels, like coal, in countries like China,” said Werner Antweiler, professor of environmental economics. at the University of British Columbia.

However, in British Columbia, “that makes good sense,” Antweiler said. “Here, clean hydropower supplies most of the province, causing no secondary emissions. “

While the idea is new, another expert says the mechanics could prove tricky.

Joshua Brinkerhoff, who teaches engineering at UBC, said there could be “technical challenges” with using Bitcoin to provide heat to homes due to the 365-day load emitted by them. servers.

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“Knowing that people’s heat needs increase and decrease during the day, it would be necessary to store the excess heat emitted when not sent into homes,” said Brinkerhoff. “Otherwise, that energy efficiency would be lost and the heat would be wasted. “

Thermal energy storage systems have their own inefficiencies, the engineer added.

“MintGreen is likely not able to store excess heat for long periods of time, for example in the summer, when less energy is needed to heat buildings in North Vancouver.

Antweiler said the project will only be as valuable as bitcoin, which “remains a speculative asset.” If the monetary market value of bitcoin ceases to be, MintGreen’s computer servers, which perform high-level calculations in order to produce the cryptocurrency, will cease to be.

In 2019, North Vancouver City Council passed a motion to increase its targets for reducing greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 and, a decade earlier, to reduce those emissions by 80% from levels from 2007.

Veng said the company’s proposed work with MintGreen could bring the city closer to that goal.

“As a company, we are investigating other renewable energy sources, including heat recovery from the ocean and wastewater treatment plants. Any product that can produce excess heat, we are interested.

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